Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Natavidad Avila arrived here from Guadalajara forty years ago, and he's been making custom cement floor tiles ever since. He specializes in traditional Mexican and Aztec motifs and translucent, out-of-this-world colors that he carefully pours into intricate patterns copied faithfully from any sample. What makes Avila's craft especially difficult is its form and mechanics: To re-create designs, he must apply pigment -- and that includes every line, dot and flourish -- by pouring the colors rather than painting them on with a brush. The results, displayed at Mosaico Mexican Tile, are beautiful and precise, artful in a way that's rapidly being lost in a high-tech world. Well, almost. Avila, who first apprenticed in the craft at the age of fifteen, is now passing on his secrets to his grandson, who -- in spite of having a college degree -- asked to be taught.
Everyone has musical skeletons in their closet: an embarrassing Euro-trash obsession, a long-outgrown affinity for death metal, an Alanis Morissette disc purchased during a particularly weak moment. Don't fret. The curiously friendly counter crew at Cheapo Discs has seen it all, and they pass bills instead of judgment. Here, old, unwanted CDs turn into money -- which one can pocket or spend on the store's impressive and inexpensive inventory of used discs. It all works off the magical and dynamic wheel of musical tastes. After all, the Cheapo people know that we all make mistakes -- and that at any given moment, someone else is ready to make that same mistake again.
Now you can get one leg tattooed while the other one is being waxed! No, seriously: The Blue Door does offer tattooing services, along with related applications of permanent cosmetics and henna body painting. But you can also indulge in every bit of new-age massage media, from Reiki to aromatherapy, all provided by experienced women practitioners. Kick back. Take the ring out of your nose. Relax.
One day earlier this year, a young woman arrived in Capitol Hill to get her hair done. Since her regular hairdresser was still snipping the locks of another customer, the woman wandered two doors down, walked into Twisted Sol and got her genitalia pierced. There are many ways to kill time while waiting to get a haircut -- reading a magazine, for instance -- but there's nothing as creative as getting a new piercing or tattoo, and finer tattoo aficionados can spot a Twisted Sol epidermis a mile away. Whether it's Jeff Kopp's pinpoint portraits or Jeramiah Clark's spray-paint style, this place has the finest den of young ink artists in Denver. "We'll work as many hours as there are in the day," says co-owner Alicia Cardenas. Currently, there's a three-month waiting period for any of the five featured tattooists, but that will change soon. This month, Twisted Sol will expand into an adjacent space (the former Majordomos coffee shop) and add two new tattooists and another piercer. Cardenas says the store will also sell tribal art and jewelry. Whatever you decide on, it's sure to go perfectly with your trendy new trim.
Imagine Baco-Bits made of yesterday's Firestones, and you're on your way to envisioning Crown Three, a nifty lawn-care product from a company called Jaitire. Sprinkle it on heavily trafficked areas of turf grass -- dog runs, the mailman's shortcut, the path your kids beat to the swingset -- and this tiny rubber carpet will protect the crown of the grass root while conserving water, extending the growing season and insulating your lawn from the winter blues. Keep your car off the lawn, though. Non-recycled tires tend to leave a mark.
Taking its design inspiration from the board game Candy Land, the folks at Can Land Recycling do their damnedest to put the fun back into recycling. Nestled among the modular-home dealerships of north Federal, the entrance to Can Land is marked by candy-cane-striped poles and a huge, festive sculpture of suspended wooden barrels with massive grins and outstretched arms. That welcome alone is worth all the drudgery of rinsing and sorting a truckload of garbage. The grounds are decorated with a profusion of brightly colored paintings of happy homes and grateful cans caught frozen for all eternity in mid-hug. Maybe hope and happiness can live on beyond the confines of a children's game.